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Aspirin Offers Protection against Ovarian Cancer

A very old drug may provide some valuable protection against a sneaky killer. Data from 12 large epidemiological studies were pooled and analyzed. The investigators compared 8,000 women with ovarian cancer to nearly 12,000 healthy women. 

They found that taking low-dose aspirin daily reduced the risk of ovarian cancer by approximately 20 percent. Women who took NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen at least once a week also appeared to have a lower risk of the cancer, but the reduction was not statistically significant. Acetaminophen did not offer any advantages against ovarian cancer.

This is not the first time aspirin has been identified as an anticancer compound. Other research has found that regular aspirin use is associated with a lower risk of cancers of the colon, stomach, esophagus, bladder, lung, liver, breast and prostate. There are few effective preventive measures against ovarian cancer. If this association holds up, it would be an important tool in the effort to reduce a hard-to-treat cancer.

[JNCI, online Feb. 1, 2014]

Aspirin can irritate the digestive tract and cause ulcers, even bleeding ulcers. That is why we suggest an in-depth conversation with a health professional before beginning to take aspirin every day for months or years.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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